SSRI antidepressant use during pregnancy is linked to pregnancy complications and risks for the baby, including what may be an increased risk of autism. These complications might be considered tolerable if there was solid evidence of benefit with the use of antidepressants by pregnant women. Sadly, in 25 years of study, not a single study has ever shown improvements in pregnancy outcomes in the antidepressant-treated group. In studies of nonpregnant populations, there is little evidence of clinically significant benefit with the use of antidepressants (when compared with placebo) by most patients with depression.
The current evidence that the SSRI antidepressants can injure the developing fetal brain is clear and consistent. Pregnant women suffering from depression need treatment and care. But, with good evidence that non-drug therapies, such as psychotherapy and exercise, may provide at least as much benefit in the treatment of depression (if not more), it makes sense to first use these approaches in women of childbearing age—approaches that have not been linked to pregnancy complications or outcomes such as autism.
Author: Adam Urato, MDAdam Urato, MD
Excerpted from January 16, 2014 full article: http://www.madinamerica.com/2014/01/antidepressants-pregnancy-autism-time-worry/
Adam Urato, MD cares for pregnant women on a daily basis as well as a Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialist at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts.
An April 14 article by cbsnews.com corroborates Dr. Urato’s conclusions: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/antidepressant-use-in-pregnancy-linked-to-autism-risk-in-boys/
Boys with autism were three times more likely to have been exposed to antidepressants known as SSRIs in the womb than typically developing children, according to new research.
The new study also found that boys whose mothers took SSRIs — drugs including Celexa, Lexapro, Paxil, Prozac and Zoloft — during pregnancy were also more likely to have developmental delays.
Results of the study were published online April 14 and in the May print issue of Pediatrics.
“This study suggests that there are some risks associated with SSRI exposure and that the risk is higher in boys. They [the study authors] also found the risk is highest with exposure during the first trimester when early brain development is occurring,” said Dr. Eric Hollander, director of the autism and obsessive-compulsive disorder program at Montefiore Medical Center, in New York City.